In the ad agency business, we know that all the company’s assets walk out of “the building” at the end of the workday. It’s another way of saying that ad agencies don’t have hard assets—that all the value is in the team.
What about other fields like the restaurant industry…do restaurant owners and operators see their workers as critical to the enterprise, or as expendable cogs in the machine? For Chipotle Mexican Grill, the answer is people are critical to the enterprise.
Chipotle Takes Better Care of Its Team
In 2019, Chipotle announced free tuition for eligible employees. Chipotle now covers 100% of tuition costs for 75 separate degree programs in business and technology at a handful of leading non-profit, accredited universities.
After 120 days of employment, employees are eligible to pursue degrees from leading nonprofit, accredited universities, including The University of Arizona, Bellevue University, Brandman University, Southern New Hampshire University, and Wilmington University, and others institutions who are signing on today.
Removing the financial burden of higher education encourages Chipotle’s 80,000 employees to learn and, as a result, it increases retention, empowers recruitment, and decreases turnover.
The Mighty Quinn
Dallas’ Paul Quinn College has joined with Chipotle Mexican Grill’s debt-free program which means Chipotle employees who attend Paul Quinn College can pursue their careers and their degrees with no out-of-pocket costs.
NBC 5’s Kristi Nelson spoke with Chipotle’s Chief Diversity, Inclusion, and People Officer Marissa Andrade as well as the president of Paul Quinn College, Michael Sorrell.
Chipotle’s new partnership with Paul Quinn College is a result of Chipotle’s alliance with Guild Education, a for-profit company that manages tuition reimbursement programs.
Paul Quinn College is a private, faith-based, four-year, liberal arts-inspired college that was founded on April 4, 1872, by a group of African Methodist Episcopal Church preachers in Austin, Texas. The school’s original purpose was to educate freed slaves and their offspring.
Reinventing Education, Making It Matter
Today, Paul Quinn has become a model for urban higher education by focusing on academic rigor, experiential learning, and entrepreneurship.
The centerpiece of the New Urban College Model is Paul Quinn’s decision to become the country’s only urban Work College. Paul Quinn is the ninth federally funded work college in the United States, the first Minority Serving Institution (“MSI”) in the Work College Consortium, and the first work college in Texas.
One of the centerpieces of the work college is WE Over Me Farm.
According to The Undefeated, Sorrell made the unpopular decision to shutter the school’s football program in 2013 in order to cut costs and save the school. The school then used the football field to create a working farm.
“We didn’t know anything about farming,” Sorrell said. “We were inexperienced, but we had righteous rage and we were unafraid to fail. True failure would have been never trying to improve the condition of people in this community, and we thought that was wrong.”
WE Over Me Farm now provides fresh food grown by college students in south Dallas to customers all over the DFW metro, including the Dallas Cowboys.
“It saved our school in one regard because it changed the narrative,” Sorrell said. “No longer were you going to talk about Paul Quinn from the perspective of a need institution that did not have what it needed and should be pitied. When you are in a crisis, you have to change the narrative, and the farm allowed us to do that.”